'Disappointment' over social care funding delay
Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Health, Local Government
'Disappointment' over social care funding delay
Councils and social landlords say they are "disappointed" the Government has held off from publishing plans on the future funding of adult social care .
The Government said today that it agrees the principles of the Dilnot Commission’s model – financial protection through capped costs and an extended means test – would be the right basis for any new funding model.
However, due to budgetary pressures, it said it is "unable to commit to introducing a new system at this stage".
It said a final decision would be taken by the next spending review, which could be two years away.
The Dilnot Commission recommended that people should have their contributions towards the cost of adult social care capped at around £35,000. After which, the state should pick up the cost.
The Commission also proposed that the means-tested threshold at which people are liable for the full costs of their care should be increased from the current level of those with assets of £23,250 to those with assets of £100,000 or less.
Dilnot argued that such a cap would both protect government from astronomical care costs and encourage individuals to take out social care insurance to help cover their contribution.
Today's white paper puts forward some alternative options for funding social care changes - including a fee to opt into the system and a higher cap than the initially proposed £35,000.
Councillor Ravi Govindia, London Councils’ executive member for adult services, said: “We are disappointed that the government has not taken the opportunity to put forward detailed plans on the future funding of social care but has instead chosen to wait until the next spending review. The current system is not sustainable and it is widely accepted that we cannot wait for reform any longer.
“We want Londoners to be able to lead active and independent lives and stay fit and healthy into old age. In order to do this, we need to consider how we want to fund adult social care to make sure that people can have access to affordable services when they need them.”
Chris Munday, Director for Care and Support at Midland Heart, said: “It is a step forward, but disappointing too that the detail on how people will actually pay for their future care is still not clear.
“The Dilnot report came up with sensible solutions which are generally supported across the sector. We know the issues - the population of over 65’s is projected to grow by 50% over the next 20 years and that the numbers of the very old will grow the fastest.
“We now need certainty. Without it, our collective and fundamental longer term challenge for our ever growing aging population to live in their home with confidence and independence will never be fully addressed.
“Providers like us hold part of the answer too; we can bring a wave of fresh thinking such as services to avoiding repeat hospital admissions, the use of new technology and innovative partnerships across the health, housing and care sectors. By working together to improve and refine what we do, we can help bring out the very best in our services."
The Government has, however, commited to introducing a 'Universal' Deferred Payments scheme to ensure no-one will be forced to sell their home to pay for care in their lifetime.
This means pensioners moving into nursing homes from 2015 will be able to get a loan off their council instead of having to sell their home while they are alive. The loans will be repaid after the person dies, either by selling their home or by the heirs re-mortgaging the property.
It has also agreed to establish a new care and support housing fund, worth £200 million over five years, to support the development of specialised housing for older and disabled people.
David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, welcomed the investment. He said: “We’re pleased the White Paper recognises that housing is crucial to the integration of health and social care, and welcome the investment to build more supported housing for older people and younger disabled adults.
“We need a social care system that helps people live independently, access more personalised care and avoid more intensive and expensive stays in hospital or care homes. It should ensure those who need support can live in homes that are adapted to their needs.
“But this is not just about social policy or how we care for loved ones who develop dementia. It is also critical to the long-term economic stability of our country. We need a health service that invests in services that keep people out of hospital, not one that simply treats them when they get there.
“We are keen to work with the Government to implement the measures set out in the White Paper. But the Department of Health needs to encourage local government and the NHS to pool budgets, focus on housing-based preventative services and set out its full proposals for the funding of social care - for today and for tomorrow.”